University mourns passing of former Deputy Chancellor

Published 25 February 2020
John Shanahan portrait John Shanahan, 2014.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of former Deputy Chancellor of Southern Cross University, John Shanahan.

Mr Shanahan was a member of the University Council for more than 12 years, from 18 February 2005 to 3 September 2017. He served as Deputy Chancellor from June 2014 to September 2017.  He also served as Chair and member of a number of Council subcommittees. 

Southern Cross University Chancellor Nicholas Burton Taylor said Mr Shanahan was dedicated, diligent and a real champion for doing the right thing in audit and financial processes.

“John was an invaluable member of the University community and he will be sorely missed,” Mr Burton Taylor said.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to John’s wife, Maggie and the rest of his family.”

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker also shared his sympathies with the family.

“John was one of the great ‘heart-and-soul’ people of Southern Cross and made a huge contribution,” Professor Shoemaker said.

“To see his record of service is a reminder that this University has been driven by wonderfully community-minded people such as John for decades and his loss is felt by many.”

After stepping down from the Council, Mr Shanahan remained an active and valued member of the University’s Audit and Risk Management Committee.

John was an enthusiastic and consistent attendee at graduation ceremonies officiating at 15 ceremonies on behalf of the Chancellor. 

In May 2018, Southern Cross awarded Mr Shanahan an Honorary Doctorate for his services to the University.

His involvement in the Northern Rivers region extended beyond the University gates.  He was also Director at Summerland Credit Union and Chair of their Audit and Risk Committee for 11 years, stepping down last year.

John was an expert in the field of forensic accounting.  In 2002, the Australian Financial Review referred to Mr Shanahan as an “auditing doyen”.  He was a senior technical partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Australia and the auditor of several Australian and international listed companies.  He was also the author of a number of textbooks on accounting standards.

He was a lecturer in the Master of Commerce Program at Sydney University, an adjunct at Macquarie Graduate School of Management in 2006 and 2007 and was an accounting academic for 12 years at the University of NSW.  He also lectured in Accounting and Auditing at the then Canberra College of Advanced Education (now the University of Canberra) from 1971 to 1978.  In 1974, John was a visiting lecturer at Birmingham University and Heriot-Watt University in the UK. 

Media contact: Karin von Behrens,